Monday, September 27, 2010

Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps

In the mid to late eighties I was a Micheal Douglas fan thanks to ROMANCING THE STONE, I also thought Charlie Sheen was cool seeing that he was in RED DAWN, LUCAS, THREE FOR THE ROAD, and his cameo in FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF. At the age of only 10 I didn't understand what was going on financially in the movie WALL STREET, I only knew that I really liked it. It was the character of Gordon Gekko that kept me always wanting to sit and watch the movie when I saw it playing on HBO. 20 plus years later the film plays a little dull but Micheal's performance still rocks.

It didn't really feel all that necessary to me for WALL STREET to have a sequel but I was very curious if Mr. Gekko learned anything in prison? I was ready for him to be the sage telling Shia LeBeouf's character the woes of being greedy and that greed is in fact not good. You do get that feeling in the beginning but then you start remembering that this is Gordon Gekko we're talking about here.

LeBeouf plays a young Wall Street trader (well on his way unlike Billy Fox from the first film) who is dating Gordon's daughter and tries to reunite the estranged father daughter relationship and at the same time getting advice on surviving the latest financial fallout and getting revenge for the death of the young traders mentor.

Sound exciting? Well it's not! This movie sucks except when Douglas is on screen but even he can't save this turd by the time the end credits roll. What you accidentally have is good actors with a boring and sometimes bad script. This story lacked the emotional weight for the audience to care what was happening on screen! Seriously! You could hear crickets in the over half full theater! What was Oliver Stone thinking! Wait, I know. He wanted to remind everybody how the Banks getting government bail outs sucked. Gee thanks Oliver for reminding us you prick!

Even though I knew this film was sinking fast I thought to myself that the pay off for LeBeouf's character getting revenge might be exciting! Nope. It's all very matter – of - fact played out. Even Gordon Gekko's emotional final scene is dull.

In closing this film is about as exciting as reading the Wall Street Journal, so maybe Mr. Stone knew what he was doing all along?

Not recommended at all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catch A Flick Spooktacular: GHOSTBUSTERS

As much as I like horror movies the comedy genre played a big part in my childhood. Come to think of it I have always figured the comedy STRIPES was the first movie I was ever subjected to! STRIPES, THE BLUES BROTHERS, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, and CADDYSHACK were common viewings at my house growing up. By the time I was 7 and GHOSTBUSTERS was playing at now historic Tower Theater, I could not wait to see it!

GHOSTBUSTERS is such a classic that I really don't have anything to say that hasn't been said or felt before, but I love it so here we go. The thing I realize during current viewings is just how perfect the movie is. If you ever want to make a movie, watch this one and see how well everything flows together. The four Ghostbusters really anchor the story with interactions between each other and other characters. Winston - the everyday man, Egon - the brains, Ray - the heart, and Peter - the mouth of the Ghostbusters.

Adding to the talent of what makes this film great is the flow of the narrative, every gag, one liner, scare, and supernatural occurrence feels natural. My favorite examples include the gangs first real job with Slimer at the hotel, the classic montage with the movie's theme song, and Peter's first meeting with the prick from the EPA. Really the list could be endless!
Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote a terrific script that they spent years and years perfecting!

And now for the reason I put GHOSTBUSTERS as part of "Spooktacular", the monsters! As every fan knows Slimer warmed the hearts of every kid watching and has sort of been the spokesperson for the franchise. And tell me who wasn't afraid of those demon hounds? I remember it taking me awhile before I watched the refrigerator scene without covering my eyes! The bellowing of Zool was some scary stuff! My favorite monster however was the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Godzilla made out of marshmallows is pretty awesome!

25 years later it's still a classic and will remain one for ever in my book!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Catch A Flick Spooktacular - RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE

Well RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE saves MACHETE from being the most convolute movie of the year! And all you Paul W.S Anderson haters can't tell me “I told you so” because I like the other Resident Evil movies but this latest installment is a tough one to sit through. It's a good thing however that the 3D is watchable! What's sad is that the film only has about 30 minutes or more that is even worth a damn!

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE has a strong start with Alice finally confronting Albert Wesker by infiltrating the Umbrella Corp. secret underground fortress. In an anticlimactic fight due to flashy CGI our hero is successful but not without the cost of loosing her powers(if you don't follow the series, the Umbrella Corp. made Alice into a weapon). After defeating Wesker, nothing interesting happens for a long time but Alice journeys to Alaska to meet up with the other survivors from the last movie but only finds a shell shocked Claire. The two embark to Los Angeles and find some more lucky ones needing help. While at the compound they find out about a ship off shore that is virus free and offers food and safe haven and decide they all need to get on that ship. Time is short because hundreds and hundreds of zombies are converging onto the compound. It is here that the movie is really any good! Everything else just feels very meh.
The first movie did a great job creating interesting characters, plot, and zombie carnage that was suited more for a movie rather than being based on a video game about running around a mansion looking for keys and solving puzzles while fighting giant snakes and spiders. By the third film things were getting a bit convoluted and messy but all together good zombie fun
With RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE maybe the film makers spent too much time on the action scenes looking cool for 3D? Seriously almost every action scene they make look like a 3D money shot! I loved a lot of the action but some of it became old real fast. Another problem could have been the series just becoming to convolute and not knowing where to take the story? I just found myself not caring and wondering why should I care about this person or that person. Oh, Claire Redfield and Chris Redfield are from the video game? That's fine but who the hell are they in this movie!

For me RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE didn't work and is probably the last one I'll the theater at least. Not recommended.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catch A Flick Spooktacular: FRIDAY THE 13th PART V: A NEW BEGINNING

Before I talk about FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING I'll fill you in on a little back story on the series thus far. Despite how awful FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3-D was it did however make a ton of money. It was also during this time that the slasher genre was making a killing at the box office and PTA members along with bored mommies with too much time on their hands were protesting these violent and gory horror movies. So Paramount Pictures caved and decided it was time for Jason to hang up his machete for good but not without having one more romp in the woods. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER came out in 1984 and was an excellent “swan song” for the series. What happened next was obvious, the film made a ton of money. The suits at Paramount were genius, moviegoers are obviously going to come out and see the movie where they kill Jason! And kill them they did! No way he can come back from a machete through the head and being chopped to Kibbles n' Bits! Well he did come back, sort of. FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING tries exactly that by teasing us with the idea of a “new” Jason. It fails and it fails big time.

After spending years in a mental hospital for “killing” Jason in Part IV, Tommy Jarvis is sent to a halfway house for maladjusted teens. After one teen from the house brutally kills another and is sent away, it sparks anew the gruesome killings! But is it Jason, Tommy, or could it even be somebody else? Why would it be someone else? That'd be stupid! Okay so who it turns out to be is not all that stupid but just lazy storytelling. What makes this movie one of the worst in the series is not the fact Jason isn't the one doing the killings it's the fact that all the violence is edited to pieces! It really looked like every death scene with the exception of maybe a few were edited down to nothing. This might have been a decent entry in the series if the kills were not messed with. Seriously, some death scenes were just left funny and or confusing. The best kills in the movie ended up being the ones done off camera. Whenever somebody was about to get killed I was wasn't filled with suspense but rather wondering what was going to be edited this time?

Maybe the movie didn't stand a chance with the MPAA? The rumor is that FRIDAY THE 13th Part V: A NEW BEGINNING at the time was the most brutal one yet! I'd believe it after hearing the “lost scene” involving a victim getting a machete stabbed in her you-know-what! Come on Mr. Director, That's just sick!

Another thing this installment has going against it is everything looks bright and colorful or neon. The cold bleak drabness of the previous films are gone. This was important to me because the look of the films was one of the things that made me feel uneasy watching a Friday the 13th!

But leave it to one of the worst in the series to have one of the coolest but really ridiculous things in it that I love! Toward the end of the movie a Sheriff has some newspaper clippings about the killings at Crystal Lake and about Jason himself. One of the clippings has a picture of Jason, hockey mask and all! I literally began laughing my ass off! Who the heck was brave enough to freaking get that picture! Trust me if your a fan of this particular genre then you understand why that is so funny.

In closing,the film may have worked for a non franchise slasher flick but not here. Instead of a “new beginning” it's more of a “revenge” story instead. It's not until after the “real” killer is revealed that there is any inkling of a new direction for the series. Part VI oddly doesn't follow the new direction (which is a great thing) so it became all for nothing anyway. So I think the story is weak but that's not the reason I hate this film, the reason I dismiss Part V is the editing of the gore. It's down right absurd what all they cut out of this thing! I'm no gore hound but give the fans what they want and don't make your movie look like crap!